It has not escaped notice of mainstream media figures that President Obama is ending this campaign in a shabby fashion. The Post’s Karen Tumulty tweeted on Obama’s new tag line: “ ‘Not one of us’ has a specific, ugly history in US politics. Bad place for the Obama campaign to go.” Indeed. ABC’s Terry Moran observed, “Obama campaign’s tone right now — snarky, belittling — seems off for the closing days.”

The low-rent rhetoric coincides with Mitt Romney’s surge in critical, swing-state polling. Along with Obama’s travails on the Benghazi debacle, we have a picture of an unpresidential president with little positive to say for himself.

You know things are bad when MSNBC agrees that Obama lacks “a command of the moment”:

The president’s campaign has boiled down to a series of insults and a flagging effort to tamp down on the Benghazi fiasco. Mainstream outlets such as McClatchy have figured out that despite accurate information that had come in within 24 hours the administration continued to hype the angle that the anti-Muslim video had ignited the attack. (On Sept. 20 “[Jay] Carney, the White House spokesman who’d only days earlier tied the incident to the video, told reporters it was ‘self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.’ ”) Bret Baier of Fox News put together compelling account of the Obama efforts to tie and then untie the murders to the anti-Muslim film.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hayes debunked apparent Obama administration spin that the attacks had no connection to al-Qaeda. (In fact the CIA talking points put out on Sept. 15 do connect the attacks to extremists, and the CIA, we know from Eli Lake’s reporting, found that those responsible were talking with al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb within 24 hours of the attacks. Contrary to a New York Times report (evidencing the heavy hand of White House spinners) the group responsible for the attack Ansar al Sharia, Hayes points out, was labeled by the Pentagon as a group that “has increasingly embodied al Qaeda’s presence in Libya, as indicated by its active propaganda, extremist discourse, and hatred of the West, especially the United States.”

The best description of the Obama campaign is “shrinking.” His map is shrinking as Romney secures North Carolina and gains in Virginia and Florida. The president’s stature is shrinking. And time to turn this around is shrinking as well. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to put all his eggs in the basket labeled “Discredit Romney.” Right now, he’s the one lacking plausibility as a competent presidential contender.